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The 1st “aha” (Annual Hortensia Anderson) Haiku Contest held in 2013 was created to honor the memory of a well-known and respected New York-based haiku poet, Hortensia Anderson. 

Deadline: open 1 January 2024 to 31 January 2024; results posted on this website in March 2024.

Sponsor: the United Haiku and Tanka Society.

Coordinator: Marilyn Humbert, Australia. 

Adjudication: Peter B, , USA. 

Eligibility: Open to everyone worldwide.

Awards: This contest is FREE for up to 10 entries, all rights remain with the haiku poets. Printable Certificates will be emailed to winners for 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place, and one HM.

Submissions: Entries must be the original work of the author, be unpublished and never posted publicly anywhere, and not under consideration elsewhere for the entire time period it takes to complete the judging. This contest is un-themed, open to all age groups worldwide, any season is acceptable, and there is no specific syllable requirement with the exception of a short, long, short rhythm written in 3 lines of text. Entries that do not follow these guidelines will not be considered, read carefully.

Entry Fee: None, it’s FREE

Guidelines: Use the subject heading (aha entry), and type each individual haiku only, (no senryu) in the body of your email. Include your name, country, and email contact. Please type in this email: 

mhumbert1953 at gmail dot com (no political or inappropriate material will be considered by the staff).

From Marilyn: “all entrants will be advised that I have received their entry, but if you haven’t heard from me within 7 days, please re-send.”

Notification: ONLY the winners will be notified and ONLY via email, (and if you have no email address available, (please provide a proxy email address.) If you don’t hear anything back by 1 March 2024, your entries are automatically free to submit elsewhere.

Publication: Winners’ will be posted in March 2024 on the UHTS website with Judge’s commentary. 

Thank you for your participation to honor the memory of a wonderful person who contributed so much of herself to the haiku community over the years, Rest in Peace Hortensia.


Songbirds Sedoka 2023 Journal


Songbirds Sedoka was created as a fun experiment to see how poets would respond to an obscure form,

and I was thrilled with the submissions. Not only was I impressed by the number of sedoka submitted,

but also the quality, which made it difficult to even select my 4 favorites.


dawn flushes

across the pale cheeks

of this winter sky


we wonder

if you will make it

through another night

Debbie Strange, Canada

A very visually descriptive sedoka by Debbie Strange that utilizes nature in the first tercet and deepens

to a human emotion in the second tercet. Her juxtaposition is outstanding, as we see the pale cheeks of

that winter sky in the person who may not make it through another night. Debbie also has so easily

managed a perfect 3/5/5 rhythm in both verses. 


spending every

night knitting scarves after

scarves I will never wear

when you're gone

what else will I do

to busy my hands

Vandana Parashar, India

This sedoka by Vandana Parashar uses a longer tercet on top of 4/6/6, setting up the prelude for her

second shorter tercet of 3/5/5 when we find out the “why” she is knitting “scarves after scarves”.

The use of the phrase “every night” and “scarves” (plural) lets the reader know the depth of her question.


I went for a walk

after a difficult day

desert flowers cloak the hills

footprints of mice

impressed on glinting sand

how small my problems feel

Ginny Short, USA 

By Ginny Short, a sedoka where each tercet is a separate thought, yet related through a walk in the desert.

At first, she sees flowers cloaking the hills, and then notices the small footprints of mice which diminish

her own problems of a difficult day. The rhythm in both verses is right-on. 


when willows are stamped

against the coppery glow

will you come to me

not even bare tree

silhouettes like skeletons

will keep us apart

Marilyn Humbert, Australia

I’m sure that each reader will have their very own favorites as well. All of these are truly worthy of

publication. Congratulations to each of these poets.

This sedoka by Marilyn Humbert is a fine example of a question posed to someone who answered it.

The rhythm is perfect and it shows how sedoka, like tanka, can be poetic with the use of adjectives.

The “coppery glow” is a lovely visual and the use of her word “stamped” makes it even more vivid.

ice “s” sound in line 2 of the second tercet as well.

why seek wisdom’s hue, 

in the vastness of night’s sky, ???

when lost to a city’s glare?

true wisdom’s like stars, 

only clear in darkest night, 

far from worldly lights’ deceit.

Steven Zhen-Ting Li, Australia

September dusk:

a few swifts chittering

become thousands

an enso swirl


into a chimney

Susan Weaver, USA

will you bloom better

if I kiss you in autumn

when sunlight is less

better I will bloom

with hat in hand, as far as

a kiss is concerned

Ernesto P. Santiago, the Philippines

adult swim

boys near the diving board

call "cannonballs"                                          

can I still

back flip into the pool

like when I was a kid

Randy Brooks, USA

Sirius the brightest

among the river of stars

please shine a pathway


this starry river…

I paddle my bark canoe

to where you abide

Marilyn Humbert, Australia

grafted branch

on common rootstock

sweet apples

splendid fruits

immigrants grafted

on native stock

Christa Pandey, USA

sitting beside me

an unlikely teacher

from a different world

eating together 

her difficult lessons

so simple to swallow

Anne Curran, New Zealand

O my Guru

what are the benefits

of my actions

they add up

to your bank account

of good deeds

Lakshmi Iyer, India

pulling out weeds
how does the gardener
know what to keep

what will blossom
bit by bit on his path
the pilgrim's dream

Anju Kishore, India

when you’re gone

how will I survive

lonely nights

I’ll be here

wrapping your pillow

in starshine

Keitha Keyes, Australia

a sleepless night

with no answers found

in river song


watery stars

the intransigence of tides

your only refrain

Joanna Ashwell, UK

the heart ponders

and love scratches its head

who or what are we?


one mystery, are we  

an accomplished duo

or two soloists apart

John Grey, USA

a sign

do not feed wild birds

that everyone ignores

the egrets

graciously accept

all forbidden food

Hazel Hall, Australia

in the springtime sun

with mountains and lake in view

you knelt to ask me

in the autumn sun

with our family around us

I answered yes to you

Jennifer Gurney, USA

upturned face

she memorizes

every cloud by heart

still praying

in the pouring rain

like a moonflower

Elisa Theriana, Indonesia.

winter fog descends . . . 

who will guide me on this path 

if you are not here with me?

little by little

even the stars will appear 

and I will be there with you

Daniela Misso, Italy

pour me light

into the abyss

of my love

starry night

from the beginning

and before

Suraj Nanu, India

raking embers

in the creaky old hearth

her death rattle

cinders spit sparks

fizzle into the night

her soul now free

Lorraine Carey, Ireland

impatient mother

pacing up and down for just

that one call saying 'hello'

time and tide

takes up the same toll

for generations

Lakshmi Iyer, India

dried up in the vase 

a red rose drops its petals 

and slowly withers away

my wounded heart

knows not how to heal

a cut that's this deep

Bonnie Scherer, USA

wintry sky

no end to patterns

tonight it let fall

barren field

thousands of snowflakes 

soften the landscape

an’ya, USA

is there an end

to the relentless wars

of humankind

the end of wars

is only to be found

in fantasies 

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams USA

are those red roses

in the garden of her grave

from the tears of her longing


a wandering soul

he has no purpose but to 

water the buds into bloom

R. Suresh babu, India

humid rain –

I press a green pear

will my love sweeten

the train leaves by five

I have time for only one    

moment to taste, to soften

Glenn McPherson, Australia

why do you leave me

in a thunderous rumble

my day is so very dark

you choose to leave me

to avoid the lightening strike

that will be sure to follow

Bonnie Scherer, USA


the sound of windblown leaves 

in a deserted street

the new season 

reminds me I miss you . . . 

I'm so empty inside

Daniela Misso, Italy

waves crash onto shore

and I awake, wondering 

when you’ll be near me again

no force can part us

oh love, I’ll be in your bed

when this chaotic war ends

Pris Campbell, USA

war-torn theatre

turned into a bomb shelter

rehearsing for an air raid

entangled shadows

of bare branches carve their fight 

into the midnight asphalt

Judit Hollos, Hungary

the songbird

a series of sounds

soft fingers

no limit

my love for you wide

as the horizon

Nani Mariani, Austalia

rainbow lorikeets

I’ll mate for life, so I’m told

could we do the same?

I wish I could say

that I’ll always be with you …

but my bachelor heart stays

Keitha Keyes, Australia

a stormy night

louder than nature’s roar

the breaking of my heart


in every shard

of the shattered mirror

the flash of a new dawn 

Anju Kishore, India

in gathering dusk

where black cockatoo flocks wheel

and veiled Artemis rises


beneath the full moon

we wait to seal our hearts’ pact

ordered from above

Marilyn Humbert, Australia

autumn wind and rain

strip our cherry tree's branches

its bronzed leaves flutter and drift

clouds yield to sun: leaves

of butternut, lemon, rose

water-coloring our walk

Susan Weaver, USA

my body is weak

from wanting you too long

through overcast days and nights

I’ll never leave you

all alone my dearest wife,

or lost in delirium

Pris Campbell, USA

waves have left the sea

have left the shore trees clinging

and left everything for you

waves have left the sea

no thanks from the flotsam crab

listless without destiny

Glenn McPherson, Australia

there’s a chill outside

and the chimes clink and clatter:

smell the prescient scent of fire


Santa Ana’s blow

while we shiver in the wind

Christmas lights sway and glitter

Ginny Short, USA

ash-streaked glacier stream

meanders through snow-covered

terrains touching the dawn sky

my first grey hair locks  

as I search for a way out

of the maze I built for Death

Judit Hollos, Hungary

a flood of sweet song—

when I search for the singer

the bird has already gone

on seeking your mail

I find it has disappeared

perhaps it has flown away

Hazel Hall,  Australia

why does a black swan

return to the busy road

where its mate was killed

it’s a prompt of joy

of their long life together-

and where it was ended 

Rob McKinnon, South Australia

world-bearing turtle

how can you carry us now

your belly full of plastic

I can't bear this world

your deadly sea of plastics

my belly full of sadness

Susan Weaver, USA

winter sun
soothing my hurt

a slow thaw

crocus burst
what also waits
in the freeze

Anja Kishore, India

when willows are back

against the coppery glow

will you come to me


not even bare tree

silhouettes like skeletons

will keep us apart

Marilyn Humbert, Australia

bottlebrush in bloom…

about red flower spikes

birds busy themselves


forest footbridge-

tossing stones into the creek

as fairy wrens trill

Rob Mckinnon, South Australia

when to 

leave the table

in midsummer 

how to

quit a cold house

the long winter

Jerome Berglund, USA

seeker of the stars, 

do your eyes find peace in them, 

as they blaze 'cross ancient skies? 

in their steadfast light,

I find an unspoken oath, 

infinity bound to calm.

Steven Zhen-Ting Li, Australia

And in closing….this sedoka lesson, a hearty thanks to Ingrid Bruck!

on top of a bridge* 

one zen monk asks another, 

what's it like to be a fish 

the monk at his side 

looks down on lilies and koi 

and pushes his monk friend in 

*”These are new works and have never been previously published. I used your instructions, then

selected a variety of Buddhist teaching stories, reimagined and transposed them into the poems I send

you. I enjoyed the Sedōka Songbird form”  Ingrid Bruck